Saturday, February 16, 2013


Vatican Radio REPORT -IMAGE -SHARE-  To date, 35 thousand people have registered with the Pontifical Household to attend Pope Benedict XVI’s “last great appointment with the People of God”, announced Holy See Press Office director Fr. Federico Lombardi in his daily briefing with journalists Saturday. 

Fr. Lombardi told press that the gathering on Wednesday February 27th will not follow the normal praxis of a general audience; there will be no catechesis but rather a Liturgy of the Word and a celebration of the pontificate. 

He also revealed that the Vatican Television Centre will be broadcasting live Benedict XVI’s departure from the Apostolic Palace on Thursday 28th, following his final farewell to the College of Cardinals. Lombardi confirmed that Pope Benedict is expected to remain in Castel Gandolfo for a period of at least two months.

Until then it’s business as usual. In fact the Vatican Press Office director revealed the Pope’s calm and serenity as he carries out the final public appointments of his pontificate. On Saturday these included a meeting with the President of Guatemala, Italian bishops on their Ad limina pilgrimage and later in the evening with out-going Italian premier Mario Monti.

And the Holy Father is pushing ahead with issues of governance, such as his renewal of the Cardinals Commission charged with overseeing the IOR, or Institute of Religious Works for another 5 year term. 

As of sundown this Sunday, the entire Roman Curia withdraws for a week-long Lenten retreat, led this year by Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Vatican Council for Culture.

During this period all papal appointments are suspended. But, Fr. Lombardi noted, the Pope will still sign documents pertinent to the life of the Church, brought to his attention by his secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein.

Then looking ahead, Fr. Lombardi informed press that the Camerlengo, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is already at work with experts to clarify the steps to be taken during the Sede vacante in preparation for the papal election, according the governing constitutionUniversi Dominici Gregis

He said that the possibility of bringing the date of the conclave forward, before the statutory 15-20 days after the beginning of the Vacant See (March 1st) remained ‘open’. He said it was a decision for the Camerlegno, the Dean on the College of Cardinals and the college itself and very much depended on how quickly all 209 men arrived in Rome. 


Luke 5: 27 - 32

27After this he went out, and saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me."28And he left everything, and rose and followed him.29And Levi made him a great feast in his house; and there was a large company of tax collectors and others sitting at table with them.30And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"31And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick;32I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."



Live the gospel this Lent – forgo that coffee

Tuesday 12 February 2013

THIS Lent Melbournians have the opportunity to give expression to the Gospel imperative to pursue justice and help those suffering from poverty and disadvantage through Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion. Forgoing that coffee or another small treat and instead donating the cost to Project Compassion is one small way to change the life of kids like 12 year old Ditosa.

Ditosa lives in the village of Matuba, near Chokwe in Mozambique. Her parents died of AIDS-related illnesses some years ago, so Ditosa and her little sister, Fique, 7, are cared for by their grandmother and aunt who are both HIV positive and too weak to work.

An extremely poor community, most of the houses in Matuba are built of mud bricks. There is no sewerage system, so the toilets are deep holes in the ground surrounded by reed screens. Until two years ago Ditosa’s family had to walk two kilometres to collect water from a water pump. Now with one installed in the village, there are two taps which dispense clean water for the community.

Without having to walk such a long way to collect water, Ditosa’s daily routine is now much simpler. On the days she attends school, she enjoys sharing what she has learnt with her grandmother. “I like my grandmother because she takes care of me; she helps me wash and gives me clothes.”

Many children in this area have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS. In Mozambique, an estimated 11.5% of adults live with HIV and there are approximately 670,000 orphaned to AIDS aged 0-17 (UN 2009). In Matuba, the proportion of people with HIV is even higher. Five years ago, when Caritas Chokwe offered free HIV tests in Matuba, over 50% of the people who came forward for testing were HIV positive.

“Lots of local people go away looking for work. They contract HIV while they are away and bring it back to the community, and it spreads. Many are sick and many parents have died of AIDS, leaving children with no food or education,” said Mama Cacilda, Director of Caritas Chokwe.

With a generation missing and many grandparents struggling to provide for grandchildren, in 2007 the need for a centre for orphaned and vulnerable children was identified. Caritas Chokwe coordinated the project and Caritas Australia supplied the funding for the Matuba Children's Centre.

Here, children learn computer skills and crafts such as sewing and jewellery making, and receive extra help with their study. The Centre also provides children and family members with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to help manage HIV/AIDS.

There is a chicken house, where they learn how to raise chickens for food and to sell, and a workshed where they learn carpentry and make wooden stools. The Centre also has a vegetable garden where the children help to grow vegetables to eat and to sell.

In the kitchen, lunch is prepared every day by community volunteers. This is often the children’s only meal for the day. Hygiene is also an important aspect and to help with this, a toilet and shower block was installed. “I teach the children that they always must be clean,” said Elvira Mabundi, Centre Coordinator.

Ditosa’s favourite things to do at the Centre are carpentry and jewellery making, and she appreciates the extra help she receives with schoolwork. “I like coming to the Centre because it helps me. I come to study and I get something I don’t get at school. What I enjoy most is making earrings and necklaces,” she said.

As Ditosa’s grandmother and aunt are both too sick to work, their family depends on the kindness of more distant family members. So the food, medicines and support they receive from the Centre are a lifeline.

With your support, Matuba Children’s Centre opens doors for children and young people. Here, they find hope for the future and a safe place where they can grow.

“The love that I have for my own children is the love that I have for these children too,” said Elvira. “I know the Centre will help them in life. We teach them that, even if they don’t have parents, we are together with them … they are going to be the teachers of tomorrow.”

‘We work towards a brighter and more humane world so as to open doors into the future.’  Popo Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 35.

Click HERE to donate to Project Compassion.



One Billion Rising against violence to women reporter, Colombo
Sri Lanka
2013-02-15 15:25:42
Catholic Church News Image of
Women attend the vigil in Colombo
Women’s rights activists on Thursday urged the government to be more vigilant in protecting women from abuse during a candlelight vigil in the capital. The event was part of a global campaign to end violence against women.
Sachini Perera, an activist from the Women and Media Collective and organizer of the vigil, said that one in three women in Sri Lanka experience some form of sexual assault.
“We shouldn’t let this continue and be silent about it. We are here to ask policymakers to stop violence against women,” she said.
She added that violence against women rose six percent last year over the previous year. “The situation is very bad, the highest it has ever been,” she said.
The participants at the vigil joined a global alliance of rights groups, activists and concerned citizens taking part in theOne Billion Rising campaign, inaugurated this year to highlight the estimated one billion women worldwide who have suffered sexual or gender-based violence.
Activists say gender violence is rife in Sri Lanka.
Four women – most of them below the age of 18 – were raped each day in 2012, according to police data.
Sister Gayani Silva blamed the legal system as well as attitudes among the male population to the social status of women for the rise in gender-based violence.
“More laws should be introduced, but in fact even with existing laws very little is being done and young men should be educated about women’s equality,” said Sr Gayani, who works with abused women and children.
Dr Udan Fernando, a specialist on international development issues and a participant at the vigil, said violence against women is linked with society's views on what it means to be a man.
He further advocated the importance of collective campaigns to end violence and said “when people act together, they get inspiration from each other to face such problems.”
Related reports



Agenzia Fides REPORT -  For a community of Redemptorist missionary priests the parish of São Jose was given, in Rodrigues Alves in the State of Acre, Brazil, the State to the west of the Northwest of Brazil, in the middle of the Amazon, on the border with Peru .
A note sent to Fides Agency by the press office of the Redemptorist Missionaries reports that the four members of the new community are Mgr. Gutemberg Regis (Bishop Emeritus of Coari, AM), Father Marino Almeida, Father Francisco Andrade and Father Irmão Eliomar.
Last January His Exc. Mgr. Mose João Pontelo C.S.S.p., Bishop of the Diocese of Cruzeiro do Sul, warmly welcomed the Redemptorist Community, and appointed Father Almeida Marinho as parish priest. The new priests appointed immediately began to prepare a pastoral plan. One of the problems to be dealt with is the situation of migrants passing to and from other cities in Brazil or Peru, as in the case of Haitians (see Fides 14/04/2012).
The ceremony was also attended by the Father Zenildo Luiz Pereira da Silva, Vice Provincial of the Redemptorist Congregation of Manaus. (CE) (



By STAFF REPORTER on Friday, 15 February 2013
Vatican Bank Photo: Associated Press
Vatican Bank  Photo: Associated Press
Pope Benedict XVI has approved the appointment of a new president of the Vatican Bank.
Ernst von Freyberg, 54 and a shipyard chairman, fills a nine-month-long vacancy at the helm of the bank after its former president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was ousted in May for incompetence.
The commission of cardinals for the Vatican bank, formally called the Institute for the Works of Religion, announced the appointment today in a six-month-long hiring process that included the help of an independent head-hunting agency.
In a statement today the Vatican said: “The Holy Father has closely followed the entire selection process … and he has expressed his full consent to the choice made by the commission of cardinals.”
Von Freyberg is chairman of Blohm+Voss Group, a Hamburg-based shipbuilding company that focuses on engineering services, yachts and commercial vessels, and no longer owns its military naval division.
He is an active member of the Knights of Malta, a lay Catholic religious order and a worldwide humanitarian network offering free medical care and other services. He is also a co-leader of an association for the Archdiocese of Berlin that organises pilgrimages to Lourdes.
He is the founder and member of a foundation that supports an elementary school in Frankfurt and Catholic organisations in France, Germany and Austria, and provides student scholarships.
Fr Lombardi, press secretary to the Holy See, said the presidency “is not a full-time position” and von Freyberg will keep his other job. The bank’s president is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the bank and is usually present “in situ” only three days a week, Fr Lombardi said.
The German lawyer worked at the New-York-based investment company Three Cities Research from 1988 to 1991 and was the founder and CEO of Daiwa Corporate Advisory, a European-based corporate finance consultancy firm, until 2012.
He is a member of the supervisory boards of Flossbach & von Storch, a German financial management company, and a member of the advisory board of the temporary work agency, Manpower, in Germany.
The bank’s commission of cardinals and its lay board of supervisors were presented with about 40 potential candidates, Fr Lombardi said.
The choices were eventually narrowed down to six candidates who had face-to-face interviews with the board, which then picked three candidates who had follow-up interviews with the commission of cardinals.
The commission made its final decision yesterday and presented it to the board, which agreed that same morning, Father Lombardi said.
The Pope was informed about the chosen candidate and he gave his “consensus” today Fr Lombardi said, adding that the Pope “was familiar with the von Freyberg family.”
The position of Vatican bank president, however, “is not a papal appointment, but is appointed by the commission of cardinals.”
“This painstaking and detailed process lasted for some months, making it possible to assess a number of candidates of professional and moral excellence, with assistance from an independent international agency that is a leader in the selection of top executives,” the written Vatican statement said.
The bank’s cardinal commission, whose president is Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, is made up of Cardinals Attilio Nicora and Jean-Louis Tauran, both at the Vatican, and Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi, India, and Odilo Pedro Scherer of Sao Paulo. The board of supervisors includes Carl A. Anderson, head of the U.S.-based Knights of Columbus, and three other laymen.
The Vatican bank has been working to revamp a marred image of secrecy and scandal with greater transparency.
Pope Benedict started implementing changes in 2010 to better monitor all of the Vatican’s financial operations and make sure they reflect the latest European Union regulations and other international norms against money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.


A crowd, incited by a Salafi leader, attacked the church of Saint Georgas. The Cross on the dome destroyed, part of the interior and the sacred images devastated. The police witnessed the violence, but did not intervene. Fr. Domadios saved by a Muslim family. In recent months, extremists had opened a hole in the wall to "monitor" his activities.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A mob, incited by local Salafi fringe, threw stones and set fire to the church of St. Georgas in the village of Sarsena, Tamiya District, in the Egyptian province of Fayoum, about 103 km south-west of Cairo. According to sources of the Assyrian International News Agency (Aina), the attack took place yesterday evening and caused damage, particularly to the dome of the place of Christian worship. The attack destroyed the towering cross on top of the building, and many of the icons and sacred images inside.

The local Salafist fringe lead the attack against the Copts, pitting the Muslims against the community, branding the church as "illegal", because it is close to an area inhabited by Muslims and "for this reason has to be removed." They are imposing the demolition of the building and have prevented the priest, Father Domadios from entering. Some witnesses reported that the scene was also attended by police, who did nothing to prevent the violence.

The church of St. Georgas was built in the mid-80s and is a point of encounter and prayer for 200 Coptic families. About three months ago, some Muslims made a hole in the wall, to "monitor" the activities of Christians. Yesterday the priest's attempts at mediation proved worthless.  He was joined by the local police chief, who arrived on site to try to find an agreement between the parties.

Firm in their positions, hundreds of Islamic extremists - in front of the police - started throwing stones at the church. The attackers injured - not seriously - some Copts and Father Domadios, who managed to flee to safety with the help of a Muslim family aboard their car.



St. Onesimus
Feast: February 16

Feast Day:February 16
HE was a Phrygian by birth, slave to Philemon, a person of note of the city of Colossæ, converted to the faith by St. Paul. Having robbed his master and being obliged to fly, he providentially met with St. Paul, then a prisoner for the faith at Rome, who there converted and baptized him, and sent him with his canonical letter of recommendation to Philemon, by whom he was pardoned, set at liberty, and sent back to his spiritual father, whom he afterwards faithfully served. That apostle made him, with Tychicus, the bearer of his Epistle to the Colossians, and afterwards, as St. Jerome and other Fathers witness, a preacher of the Gospel and a bishop. He was crowned with martyrdom under Domitian in the year 95.

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)